Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Free, Free, Free

It's Wednesday and at last I'm done with the semester for the summer so now I continue my navel-gazing without an ounce of guilt.

51. I am incapable of flirting when I want to – the one time I decided to gaze at someone I desired intensely (in law school, in class), hoping my simmering stare would draw him to me, he thought I was angry at something he did. The times I do flirt, unconsciously, everyone knows and it’s embarrassing because I cannot hide my liking of the person and/or flattered feeling if the person has shown an interest in me. This, in combination with my introverted nature, makes me unapproachable.

52. I feel fat and have always felt fat even when I weighed 90 lbs at 5 foot 4 in junior high school.

53. I no longer weigh 90 lbs.

54. I prefer salty foods to sweets – my favorite snacks are pickled “stuff,” spicy stuff, salt on watermelon or jicama, or potato chips.

55. While I will never be on death row unless our justice system makes a drastic turn, my “last meal” would be barbecue pork ribs, oysters on the half shell, watermelon, plain yogurt and cucumber, Caesar salad (the real stuff with anchovies), and bread pudding or crème brulée.

56. I cannot sit still for any amount of time whatsoever without reading something. The worst situation for me, the unbearable kind of “worst,” is when I have to wait and I’ve forgotten my book at home. This habit started the instant I could read, reading the cereal boxes at breakfast, the shampoo bottles in the shower, and the dream interpretation books my mother stuffed into the blue painted drawer in the tiny downstairs bathroom that was inches away from the toilet, way, way back in the day in Pasadena.

57. I’m deathly afraid of death and dying – sometimes the reality that one day everything around me will be different, that I will die, will hit me in the middle of night, sending me to the edges of a panic attack. Those instances remind me of my father's last days in the hospital when he briefly became lucid and in a fright, breathless, told his wife that, “this is it, I think I’m going.”

58. I would love to play the piano, but I don’t have any musical abilities – I tried the recorder in fourth grade, fifth grade and sixth grade and by this third year still could not learn how the notes interrelated to finger placement, nor could I memorize simple musical pieces. I was better when I had a zither which had paper marked with notes indicating exactly where I had to pluck the strings that slid beneath the strings (sixth grade).

59. To quote Lori, I hate, hate, HATE cleaning, but I do what I have to do in between visits from our housekeeper.

60. I love being served whether it’s at a spa, hotel, or restaurant.

61. To this day, despite my stellar spelling capabilities, the word, “restaurant,” requires me to stop and think about how it’s spelled when write it.

62. I have exposed myself in public – I was at a beach in Rosarito, Baja California, wearing a bikini, wading in the surf, ducking beneath the waves. At one point I was swaying in the wonderful silvery-blue, waist-high water and facing a smiling, American man of about 30. Great view, he said, to which I agreed, responding happily, believing him to be speaking about the Mexican horizon. He kept smiling at me, me with my hands feeling the cool water and keeping my balance. Suddenly, something made me look down and voila! My bikini top’s triangles had shifted…dramatically so. I screamed and ducked into the water, swimming away…hearing the man laughing and saying he was sorry I looked down.

63. I don’t wear a bikini anymore because (1) they don’t make them for natural 40D women (as opposed to unnatural 40D which they do make bikini tops for)…and (2) I wouldn’t wear one anyway because of the c-section scar I bear that runs from an inch below my belly button on down.

63. The only reason I’ve ever been in a hospital is to deliver babies – one the regular way, the other two, c-sections.

64. My breasts have been a character in my life almost as separate from me as my hair – they began sprouting in fifth grade, evoking the taunts of my very flat-chested female classmates at the private school I was attending, evoking the unwanted mockery of a fifth-grade boy when I was in sixth (“hey, big stuff!”), attracting attention from boys in the seventh and eighth grade (“Mira…ooo…chi-chis!”), getting a grab from a drunken relative I adored which I told my mother about to her stone-faced, sad admonition (“Stay away from him when he’s drunk.”), causing heart-breaking attention when I finally got an invitation by a boy I liked in tenth grade to a party which ended up with his fondling me from behind without ever kissing me or holding my hand which killed my liking of him and made me cry for a week, learning how nice they were later when I did begin dating (“You have beautiful breasts, you’re beautiful.”), provoking the most frustrated tears during the days when I began breastfeeding my babies who seemed too small for such engorged breasts, then finally prompting tears of the purest love I’d ever known when me and each of my children fell into that blissful groove of day-in-and-day-out nurturing and admiring and adoring and engaging in the sweetest intimacy of breast-feeding. Today, I watch for cancer, think about a “lift,” think about the right bra, think about how clothes fit or don’t fit, think about whether they’re still liked or admired or perhaps…perhaps…they are at last, thankfully, ignored because I have so much to say and goddamnit I'm making the crowd gathered listen. My breasts…are an ever-changing canvas of pain, power, godliness, victimization, intimidation, and mystery.


Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Adriana: This set of lists is just wonderful, and we're all (I'm sure I can speak for many on this) excited at the new installment and eagerly awaiting future ones. Some of the entries are very intense and bravely self-revealing. Some I share with you, especially things about parenting and about adolescence. Others I'm fascinated by because I'm not a woman and you reveal a lot about being a woman. In other aspects we have quirkily similar tastes (food) or different ones (music, though I too like female singers better than male). One thing I'm pretty sure of: I'm not going to try a list like this. It would take too much out of me all at once.

newspell said...

i love being a grown-up. at 32, i'm old enough to speak on adult things in an adult way, but yet i'm still young enough to remember my 16th year, staring wide-eyed as a mother opened her shirt for a child to "eat"...

having lived through 3 children that were raised only on the breast, i admire any woman that takes on such responsibility. it's such a sacrifice of self...

i'm learning such wonderful things about you...

Adriana Bliss said...

Richard, I so appreciate you reading and letting me know your thoughts - it's a joy learning the things we share, and a fun exercise to dig in deep for those individual "things".

Thanks, Rick, for chiming in - I wonder how old we have to be to forget our 16th year?

Breast-feeding is a sacrifice requiring a lot of devotion and determination. You have to psych yourself up for it - the moon has to be in line with the stars - not all women do it - so many things have to be in place for it to happen. I feel fortunate that I could do it - I was thisclose to giving it up.

Tamar said...

I am speechless and agree that Richard speaks for me as one of the "many" on this.

The piece about your breasts is especially well written - so painful and beautiful.

The more I read your list the more awesome it becomes for me to write a list about myself...

nappy40 said...

These lists are difficult to write, Tamar, and mine don't go into detail the way Adriana's do. I'm afraid of revealing too much of myself (RLC has already outed me as a Texan)on my blog, but I think eventually everything will be out there.

Great list Adriana!

nappy40 said...

And Adriana, I wrote before that we have a lot in common. This list reveals that we have even more in common, right down to the 40Ds (34DD in my case)! We differ on #51--I am very capable of flirting. I think it was the DDs that helped me out with that.

Love #59-61. "Embarrass" is my trouble word.

MatzahNacho said...

I can definitely relate to #56. I read all the time too, and started very young, cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, etc. When I was very little I would try to read everything I saw with words on it. In the children's books with pictures, I was never interested in the pictures, just the words. It was like some kind of code I was trying to decipher. No surprise I fell in love with Hebrew and Torah study since it really is a mystical code to try to decipher. I was attempting to read "grown-up" books off my parents shelves by first grade.

The one drawback of being such a reader is that I can't pass something with words on it without saying them in my head, and I get the impression there are plenty of people out there who can. I get tired of words constantly running through my head.

Adriana Bliss said...

Matzahnacho, I'm so with you on the compulsion to read. It makes window shopping very slow work sometimes. :)

Nappy40, flirting is a wonderful skill to own.

Tamar, if you write it, I'll be there.

jiri said...

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